APD confirms its SWAT officer killed East Anchorage resident in standoff 

Anchorage Police Department’s headquarters in downtown Anchorage on June 9, 2020. (Lex Treinen/Alaska Public Media)

The Anchorage Police Department confirmed on Monday that one of its SWAT officers killed a woman during a standoff at her East Anchorage home two weeks ago. It’s the department’s third killing and fourth shooting since May 13

In the initial aftermath of the shooting, police would not confirm if they had killed 58-year-old Lisa Fordyce-Blair or if she had died in some other way. 

Police went to arrest her on June 19 for felony assault. According to another officer’s court filing, Fordyce-Blair’s neighbor had called the police. The neighbor and his son were doing afternoon yard work when Fordyce-Blair came outside and yelled at them while holding a long gun. 

When police arrived, she was alone in her home and refused to come out. There was a standoff, which escalated with multiple special police units on scene, including the SWAT team using gas. 

Police said they could hear gunfire inside the house. Eventually, Sgt. Jonathan Butler fired into the home and killed Fordyce-Blaire, police said. She had no previous criminal history. 

The state’s Office of Special Prosecutions is reviewing Butler’s use of force. Then, the police department’s internal affairs will review it for policy violations. 

A small group of protesters at Mayor Suzanne LaFrance’s inauguration ceremony on Monday called for police oversight and the release of body camera footage. 

The SWAT officers were not wearing the cameras, though the officers in the three earlier shootings were. LaFrance’s new chief of police, Sean Case, said last week that SWAT officers would wear the cameras under his watch. He also said he wants to be more transparent about timelines for releasing body camera footage.

a portrait of a man outside

Jeremy Hsieh covers Anchorage with an emphasis on housing, homelessness, infrastructure and development. Reach him atjhsieh@alaskapublic.orgor 907-550-8428. Read more about Jeremyhere.

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